David Price struck out 12 over seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hit shutout in the Rays’ 5-0 defeat of the Indians on Friday.
Price outdueled Josh Tomlin, who was far and away the hotter pitcher entering the game. Tomlin, who hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his nine starts while going 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA, gave up four runs over six innings in this one. The home runs finally did him in; it was the fourth time this year that he gave up two bombs, but this time, both came with men on base.
Casey Kotchman and Sam Fuld were the unlikely home run hitters. They had combined for three in 283 at-bats this season entering the day.
Price allowed four hits and walked two in the 110-pitch outing. He struck out 10 or more batters for the fifth time in his career. His previous high for strikeouts was 11, established against the Twins on May 30, 2009 and matched against the Diamondbacks on June 26, 2010.
Price improved to 6-4 with a 3.54 ERA. Those aren’t the kind of numbers he posted last year, when he was in the mix for AL Cy Young honors. However, he currently has a 1.06 WHIP and a 68/13 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings, suggesting that his ERA should keep declining. Last year, he had a 1.19 WHIP to go along with his 2.72 ERA.